14 October 2015—Assignments: Bridges to Theory 2015
14 October 2014—China's Lunar Calendar 2014 10-14
14 October 2014—Assignments: Bridges to Theory 2014 Midterm
14 October 2013—China's Lunar Calendar 2013 10-14
|[a] A Bridge(d) RF|
Midterm Assignment—“Bridges to Theory”
|[b] Too-too RF|
Although this assignment is deliberately open-ended (allowing you to use any number of interpretive strategies), do not forget its role as a “pivot” in our course. Your work should engage, on some level, the full range of our materials from the first eight weeks of the course (your class notes, reading notes, abstracts, and even quizzes will be useful as you proceed). If you take the assignment seriously, it will give you a solid foundation—and significant momentum—for the second half of the course.
|[c] Ostentation RF|
You have been reading good review essays from the New York Review of Books for several weeks. Now is the time to write one that has a distinctly “theoretical” focus.
The basic idea is as follows. A good review essay has a two-pronged approach. It is, on the one hand, a “review” of the books and the film. By this, I mean that you need to engage examples from the lives of the Bridges. This should not be at all difficult, given the immediacy of much of the material. In the “rest” of the essay you should show how the themes in the novels can be seen in the wider perspective of social and cultural theory. In other words, how might the essays and lectures we have read in Anthropology and Theory and other texts connect to the specific issues in the novels you have read (or, from another perspective, the pile of Evan Connell's “fieldnotes” you have been studying)? To be sure, you will blend these approaches, but how you do so will be part of your writing strategy. We’ll discuss this in class.
|[d] Pineapple Bread RF|
This assignment asks you to engage the two novels and to review all of the work you have done thus far in the course (the exam you just finished is good preparation for this). It does not require you to do “research,” and substantial outside work will almost certainly be counter-productive. For example, spending two or three pages on the history of 1930s Kansas City will be far less productive than spending those pages examining the world of the Bridges or theoretical perspectives that might help us understand them better. Background information is occasionally useful (and you may possibly have some from previous reading or coursework), but do not make the mistake of providing so much “background” that you don’t deal fully with the assignment itself. Again, with novels as “up front” as these, this should not be a problem.
|[e] Tower RF|
The greater challenge is to “use” our theoretical materials well. Plot out some of the themes (or scenes) in the novels and take notes to make sure you have dealt with the full range of possibilities in the theoretical materials. Your skills in spotting themes in the Moore, Bourdieu, Wacquant, and Becker readings will pay off a great deal in this assignment, as will the general contextual and theoretical knowledge you have gained in our discussions. You have all of Week Nine to pursue this project, and you should use it to review all of the readings and class discussions (not to mention themes) that we have studied thus far in the semester.
1. This assignment is meant to “tie together” much of the work you have done this semester. Just as on weekly quizzes, be sure to use the full range of your “sources” in your interpretations—classroom analyses, Moore, Bourdieu, Eriksen and others. As you know, the theoretical essays in Moore and the close reading of Bourdieu and Becker are the heart of the class, and I would like to see connections to them in your essays.
|[f] Tarquin Plan RF|
2. Don’t forget that I will be evaluating this assignment with the assumption that you are trying to explain these matters to “intelligent non-specialists.” That means that I do not want you to “skip” those portions that you know I know. I want you to explain them. I want you to be the expert who is explaining these matters to someone who does not know much about cultural anthropology, but who is intelligent, and certainly able to follow a complex argument. Imagine, for example, that you are writing for your FYI professor and those professors you have in other classes this term, with moi looking over their shoulders. Keep your letter reader in mind, too. It will serve you well. While this is an essay (not a letter), audience still matters. Think about intelligent people who have not done the work we've done over the last two months.
3. Follow standard Chicago Manual of Style citation form, and use my style sheet as you proceed. This is a “formal” review essay, and the style sheet’s guidelines should be followed closely.
4. There should be a short bibliography of sources (class books and any outside materials that you have consulted) at the end of your document.
5. Be sure that you fill out a “paper checklist” and attach it to your essay. This checklist will be sent to you as an attachment.
6. Good luck. There is more than enough material to write any number of essays. Choose several good points, scenes, or themes. Then write an essay.
Due by 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 28 (Hard copy in my office—MI 206).
Use the word count feature of your software and put the word total at the bottom of the essay, e.g. “3,062 words."
|[g] India Louvre(s) Paris RF|